Too much time apart. I know. Being separated from the internet for a good two weeks opened up some horizons. I rejoined nature, bought a house, traveled to the deep South (more on that later), and tried my best to have some semblance of a summer vacation, all without a computer screen staring me in the face. Excuses, excuses. As a result, I've got plenty piling up to talk about and a mailbox spilling over with new music. So bear with me.
First though it would be inappropriate of me to ignore Robert Pollard. I owe him heaps of gratitude. Once again though he's inundated the indie palette with a gobstopper of new flavors, to lukewarm responses. The Takeovers, the Circus Devils, the Silverfish Trivia, it's really all too much. Not that it's all bad (in fact it's somewhat of a banner year so far, compared to the past few), it's just not all gold. Not to mention another double dose of Bob on Merge in October (hope it's gold and platinum). And a fucking singles club? Flooding the market? Who knows? There was a time when I would purchase every single piece of wax the man created (I've got a full shelf of releases to prove it, even the Howling Wolf Orchestra record), but as of today, the Guided by Voices geek in me has subsided. Is it age? Quality of material? Is the GBV Geek an endangered species?
There was once a time when these mutants roamed the earth in considerable numbers. An indie-rock equivalent to Dead Heads (I've met tape-traders). They could name each of Bob's gazillion drummers in chronological order, owned Bee Thousand on multiple formats, made covert pilgrimages to Pollard's former home on Titus Ave. in Dayton (Mullet Graceland?), subscribed to his "literary" magazine, EAT. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty, Not-Guilty. Some went as far as making music inspired by Uncle Bobby's DIY, regular-guy, thrift-store arena rock. Semi-Guilty. I love the fact that such mania spurred a community of non-musicians to buy a four-track the first time they heard "Game of Pricks." But alas, it seems the love has waned, these days listening to Guided By Voices is more nostalgic trip than new and exciting. Sad but True.
The Knights of Infinite Resignation however, still find Bob's well half-full. I've met this guy in some capacity, and it's likely we spent most of that conversation drunk (years ago?) discussing the hierarchy of Mr. Pollard's output. It's refreshing to know that shameless adoration for GBV can still be placed in song without a hint of self-consciousness or irony. Coming across as Cheap Trick-lite, alone at the Tascam, TKOIR's latest single, "Paris Hilton and Captain Beefheart" is a humorous side declaring "there was always something wrong with my GBV shirt/ you thought my Chuck Taylor's weren't so cool." From a songwriter who readily admits to talking about the Cleveland Browns during concerts, oddly quotes from Camus in his liner notes, and survives on mac & cheese, this is quite entertaining power pop -- a one-man Franklin County Art Brut. Sure, this might never escape the basement, it probably won't and he's probably fully aware of that reality, but as a reminder that the GBV nation is alive and well and anticipating and creating, this is a tiny, piece of ephemera sorely needed.